Patil visits Christ the Redeemer, weather plays spoilsport

April 15th, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil
By Liz Mathew
Rio de Janeiro, April 15 (IANS) Indian President Pratibha Patil Tuesday visited the awe-inspiring, 39.6-metre tall statue here of Christ the Redeemer, an icon of Brazil, but fog and drizzle dampened the pleasure trip. Patil, accompanied by her entourage, her husband Devisingh Shekhawat and son Rajendra Singh Shekhawat, drove to the Corcovado Mountain to see the statue, named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World last year.

But when the president’s cavalcade, which left Hotel Sofitel where Patil is putting up, reached the mountaintop, thick fog enveloped the face of the iconic statue.

Though Patil looked disappointed, her face lit up when the mist cleared just for a few seconds. One of the president’s staff who captured the statue’s face on his camera at the opportune moment ran to her and showed her the photograph.

But the group did not have a clear view of the city from the mountaintop due to the heavy fog and a light drizzle.

The Indian delegation, however, had a pleasant surprise when an Indian priest - Father Joseph from Kerala - greeted them at the chapel under the statue.

The statue of Christ the Redeemer, built over nine years in 1931, is located on a 700-metre (2,296 ft) high peak of the Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park that overlooks the city.

Brazilians believe the statue protects Rio de Janeiro.

In October 2006, on the statue’s 75th anniversary, Archbishop of Rio Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid consecrated the chapel under it, named after the patron saint of Brazil - Nossa Senhora Aparecida.

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